When the Windows 10 upgrade arrives this summer users will be able to completely clear their computer and install the operating system fresh. At least that’s according to Microsoft’s Gabe Aul, who’s spent sometime on the social network Twitter answering Windows 10 release questions since Microsoft revealed the official launch day.
Aul was asked the very important question about Windows 10 upgrades and fresh installs on June 2nd, just a day after Microsoft revealed that it will begin letting some users install the Windows 1 upgrade on July 29th absolutely free of charge. In his reply Aul says that anyone who upgrades to Windows 10 will be able to install it fresh and do an in-place upgrade.” Once You upgrade W10 [with] free upgrade offer you will be able to clean reinstall Windows 10 on same device any time,” the message reads.
Being able to do a fresh install of Windows 10 instead of only a Windows 10 upgrade sounds like a small detail, but it’s not. There’s no bigger headache than the upgrade system Microsoft implemented with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. The millions of PCs sold with Windows 8.1 would return to that operating system when they were reset from the Settings app. Notebooks, desktops and tablets with Windows 8 on them originally would be restored back to Windows 8, even if they’d had Windows 8.1 installed before the reset. Getting a clean install of Windows 8.1 was a pain for Windows 8 users and a black mark on an upgrade process Microsoft is still trying to entice people to use.
The Windows 10 upgrade is all about modernizing Windows and making it easier to use. Cleaning up the update process is a big focus for the company. Windows 10 upgrades are free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users and users can reserve their copy of the operating system already. Microsoft hopes to upgrade millions of PCs so that they can get the benefits of a modern Windows that’s connected to OneDrive, features a safe Store where they can buy content and new apps that connect to the services that they already use.
In subsequent posts Aul has confirmed more small Windows 10 upgrade details. Last fall Microsoft kicked off the Windows Insider Program; the program that lets millions of users install and provide feedback about the operating system before it’s finished. Aul says that members of the Windows Insider Program don’t have to reserve Windows 10 or reinstall the operating system they had before testing Windows 8.1. “Once you upgrade to the final build from your Insider Preview you’ll be all set.” Aul heads the Windows Insider Program.
Aul has also confirmed that users won’t need their old product keys once they’ve upgraded to Windows 10. “Once You have upgraded to [Windows] 10, you won’t need your key again, ” Aul says.
Windows 10 is a pretty bold move for Microsoft. Windows 8.1 was about support new form factors and creating a new app ecosystem to back up those new form factors. In their quest to make Windows touch-friendly Microsoft over played its hand, forcing some new ways of doing things on millions who didn’t necessarily want to learn anything new.
Windows 10 is Microsoft rebalancing a lot of what it did in Windows 8. Windows 10 has a dedicated Tablet Mode with quick gestures for getting things done, touch-friendly apps and easy-to-use search and sharing. Rather than overlay these things on top of the Desktop, Microsoft has blended the two. When there’s no touch input the Start Screen becomes a Start Menu, apps stop being fullscreen and run alongside classic programs. The Windows Store even features Desktop programs like iTunes, which were mostly just shortcuts in Windows 8.